As the nation pays final tribute to President Ronald Reagan, Chabad-Lubavitch recalls a very warm, supportive rapport between the President and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory.
During his tenure, President Reagan signed a proclamation honoring the Rebbe for his efforts on behalf of education in general, and the dissemination of the Universal Noahide Code.
In an exchange of letters, the President proclaimed the Rebbe’s birthday a national day of reflection. “As with all great leaders,” Reagan wrote to the Rebbe, “you have given much more than you will ever receive.”
The Rebbe responds with personal wishes to the President for success “in carrying out your enormous responsibilities for the benefit of all Americans and all mankind.”
The text of President Reagan’s letter to the Rebbe
April 2, 1982
Nancy and I are pleased to share in the joy and celebration which surrounds your 80th birthday on this 11 Nissan. On behalf of all Americans, we offer our most heartfelt congratulations.
You have so much of which to be proud. Since your first moments in the United States in 1941, you have shared your personal gift of universal understanding to the benefit of all. Time and again, your love and spiritual guidance have brought hope and inspiration to those confronted with despair. In bringing solace and comfort to the human spirit, you have helped to strengthen the foundation of faith which is mankind’s most vital asset. Your life’s work has been a response to that special calling few are privileged to hear.
I am especially pleased to join members of Congress in proclaiming a National Day of Reflection on your birthday. As I stated in the Proclamation, your work “stands as a reminder to us all that knowledge is an unworthy goal unless it is accompanied by moral and spiritual wisdom and understanding.” As with all great leaders, you have given much more than you will ever receive.
God bless you today and always.
[signed] Ronald Reagan
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
770 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, New York 11213
The Rebbe’s response to the President
By the Grace of G-d
25th of Nissan, 5742
Brooklyn, N. Y.
President Ronald Reagan
The White House
Greeting and Blessing:
Because of the intervening Passover season, the Festival of Our Liberation, this is my first opportunity of acknowledging your gracious letter of April 2, 1982. I wish to assure you, Mr. President, and the First Lady, that I deeply appreciate your warm felicitations and good wishes on the occasion of my birthday.
I particularly appreciate your thoughtful and profoundly meaningful message that serves as the preamble to your Proclamation of a National Day of Reflection, in conjunction with the said occasion.
Following, as it does, your Proclamation of a National Day of Prayer, your Proclamation of a National Day of Reflection is not only eminently consistent with it, but indeed a corollary thereof. By focusing attention on “the ancient ethical principles and moral values which are the foundation of our character as a nation,” and on the time-honored truth that “education must be more than factual enlightenment — it must enrich the character as well as the mind,” while reaffirming the eternal validity of the G-d-given Seven Noahide Laws (with all their ramifications) for people of all faiths – you have expressed most forcefully the real spirit of the American nation.
More than ever before the civilized world of today will look up to the United States of America for guidance as behooves the world’s foremost Super Power — not merely in the ordinary sense of this term but even more importantly, as a moral and spiritual Super Power, whose real strength must ultimately derive from an unalterable commitment to the universal moral code of the Ten Commandments. Indeed, it is this commitment to the same Divine truths and values that, more than anything else, unites all Americans in the true sense of E Pluribus Unum.
With prayerful wishes for Hatzlachah (success) in carrying out your enormous responsibilities for the benefit of all Americans and all mankind, and with esteem and blessing,
[signed] M. Schneerson